New York/Brooklyn

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Travel Guide North America USA Northeastern United States New York New York New York/Brooklyn

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Introduction

Brooklyn is one of most famous Boroughs in New York City. Brooklyn, the "Borough of Homes and Churches," is one of the five boroughs of New York City. It used to be a separate city, and still feels much like one. It has about 2.5 million inhabitants. If separated from the rest of New York City, Brooklyn would be the 4th most populous American city. Brooklyn is on the westernmost point of Long Island and shares a land boundary with Queens, which partially encircles Brooklyn to the north, east and south; Manhattan lies across the East River to the west and north of Brooklyn, and Staten Island is across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge to the southwest. Brooklyn is enjoying a period of growth and affluence not seen since before World War II. The Brooklyn Academy of Music boasts world-class theater performances, and the nearby Barclays Center is the home of the NBA's Brooklyn Nets. Coney Island's Luna Park is one of the attractions for summer crowds seeking fun during the New York summer heat.

Downtown Brooklyn been undergoing extensive redevelopment and now boasts upscale boutiques, abundant public spaces, and the Brooklyn Bridge Park stretching along the waterfront and providing unparalleled views of New York City skyline. Prospect Park, a national historic site, was even preferred by its designer Frederick Law Olmsted to his other creation, Manhattan's Central Park. Williamsburg has been named by Forbes magazine as one of America's Best Hipster Neighborhoods. Brighton Beach is home to New York's largest concentration of Russian immigrants, while the growing 8th Avenue Chinatown paints a more authentic picture of New York's Asian community than its counterpart in Manhattan. However, despite these developments, Brooklyn is full of old gems, like family-owned brick-oven pizzerias, dive bars that seemingly haven't changed since 1950s, and vast historical neighborhoods with buildings dating back to Dutch colonial times.

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Neighbourhoods

  • Williamsburg - Well known for its large artistic community, it is a diverse area with hipsters centered around Bedford Avenue, Orthodox Jews in South Williamsburg, a sizeable Polish population in Greenpoint, and a large Hispanic population and a growing arts community in Bushwick.
  • Downtown - The main tourism district in Brooklyn, Downtown Brooklyn has majestic buildings, the Brooklyn Bridge, and an unparalleled view of the Manhattan skyline.
  • Gowanus and Red Hook - While it used to be known for a high crime rate, Red Hook has become an artists' colony and was home to MTV's Real World Brooklyn cast. The nearby areas of Gowanus and Carroll Gardens are good places to explore some of Brooklyn's industrial history.
  • Prospect Park - Pretty brownstone houses, the Brooklyn Museum, the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, and more, all ringing Olmstead and Vaux's preferred park.
  • Greenwood and New Utrecht - The big attraction is the historic Green-Wood cemetery, one of the largest in New York and the final resting place of several notable people. Other attractions include New York's third Chinatown and an Italian enclave in the west of Brooklyn.
  • Bedford-Stuyvesant and Flatbush - The beating heart of Brooklyn is home to New York's largest African-American neighborhood, many West Indian immigrants, a large Orthodox Jewish community, mighty shopping streets, beautiful Victorian homes, and much of the classic history of Brooklyn.
  • Coney Island and Brighton Beach - Home to the fabled Coney Island amusement parks. The neighborhood has seen a rise in tourism with the opening of the brand-new Luna Park amusement park. Also home to New York's only aquarium, the Cyclones minor league baseball team, the original Nathan's restaurant, and one of the largest Russian-speaking communities outside the former USSR.
  • East Brooklyn - While certain neighborhoods in this section are pretty rough and this one is off the average tourist's radar (except for its proximity to JFK), this section has some attractions near Jamaica Bay.

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Sights and Activities

  • Downtown is where you'll find the one of the most famous of all New York landmarks: the Brooklyn Bridge, which connects the borough to Lower Manhattan.
  • Grand Army Plaza marks the gateway to Prospect Park, and is home to the distinctive Soldiers and Sailors Arch.
  • Coney Island is a hotspot during the summer season. One could go for a day and enjoy the beach and beach vendors, then at night visit Luna Park and ride rides for a cheap price or watch a game at the Brooklyn Cyclones baseball field. Among the attractions is the Coney Island Cyclone, one of the world's oldest and still operating wooden roller coasters.
  • Brooklyn Museum has exhibits featuring art, history and current events. It also has a great collection of Egyptian art. It actually the second largest Museum in New York.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • Martin Luther King Jr. Day (officially Birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. and sometimes referred to as MLK Day) is an American federal holiday marking the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. It is observed on the third Monday of January each year, which is around King's birthday, January 15. The holiday is similar to holidays set under the Uniform Monday Holiday Act. The earliest Monday for this holiday is January 15 and the latest is January 21. King was the chief spokesperson for nonviolent activism in the Civil Rights Movement, which successfully protested racial discrimination in federal and state law.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Labor Day is a public holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September. It honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws, and well-being of the country. It is the Monday of the long weekend known as Labor Day Weekend. It is recognized as a federal holiday. Beginning in the late 19th century, as the trade union and labor movements grew, trade unionists proposed that a day be set aside to celebrate labor.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.
  • The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

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Getting There

By Rail

  • From Manhattan: Most lines pass through Downtown Brooklyn and stop at Atlantic Avenue - Barclays Center, the largest subway stop outside Manhattan. From here, you can transfer between 2 3 4 5 B D Q N and get to almost any destination in Brooklyn. You can also walk about two blocks north of the station to find Fulton Street G and Lafayette Avenue C stations. To use these, however, you have to pay another fare or have an unlimited rides card. For northern parts of Brooklyn, the L crosses into Williamsburg and Bushwick, then continues further east. The J Z M lines will get you to those same neighborhoods but a bit further south.
  • From Queens: There are four lines you can take to get directly from Queens to Brooklyn. The G snakes from Long Island City through Williamsburg and Downtown Brooklyn before ending near Prospect Park. Although it's seemingly the most direct route from Queens to Brooklyn, the service is notoriously slow and irregular, to the point where sometimes it's faster to get to Brooklyn through Manhattan. The A goes from the Rockaways in Queens, connecting with the JFK AirTrain at Howard Beach, and through the eastern edges of Brooklyn into Bedford-Stuyvesant and Downtown Brooklyn before continuing in Manhattan. The J Z go from Jamaica in Queens (accessible via AirTrain from JFK) into Bushwick and Williamsburg. The M travels from central Queens to Bushwick and Williamsburg, but on weekends its service terminates at Myrtle Avenue, requiring a transfer to the J for further service into Williamsburg and Manhattan.

The Long Island Rail Road has a major station at Atlantic Terminal (Atlantic Avenue subway station), which is accessible from the Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street combined subway stop, served by the 2, 3, 4, 5 (on weekdays), B (on weekdays), D, N, Q, and R lines and near the Lafayette Avenue station of the C train and the Fulton Street station of the G train. Other LIRR stops in Brooklyn are Nostrand Av. at Atlantic Avenue (served by the A and C subway lines a few blocks away on Fulton Street) and East New York (served by the A, C, L, J, and Z a few blocks away at Broadway Junction and the L at Atlantic Avenue, though Broadway Junction is probably a safer bet). Eastbound trains continue to Jamaica Station in Queens, from where passengers can change to most LIRR lines for points further east or take the AirTrain to John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK). The LIRR no longer runs in Brooklyn during late nights (midnight to around 5AM), so to get to JFK from Downtown Brooklyn then, you have to take the A.

By Car

The connections between Queens and Brooklyn are too numerous to mention, because the two boroughs share a land boundary, so almost every street on the border just continues into the other borough. (Prior to 1990, the street signs in each borough had different colors, but they have since all become green - with the exception of brown signs for historic streets - and can no longer be useful in distinguishing between the boroughs.)

The Williamsburg, Manhattan, and Brooklyn Bridges link Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge links Staten Island and Brooklyn. Only the Verrazano is a toll bridge. There is also a toll tunnel, the Brooklyn-Battery Tunnel, which links Brooklyn with the Battery (the southern tip of Manhattan).

By Bus

Brooklyn is covered by an extensive network of MTA buses, for which a map is essential. Of particular note is the B51 bus, which runs between City Hall in Manhattan and Smith St./Fulton St. in Downtown Brooklyn, via the Manhattan Bridge. The trip is particularly beautiful on the way to Manhattan because of the skyline. The bus operates only on weekdays, with the last bus leaving Smith St./Fulton St. at 7:10PM and from Park Row at 7:40PM, according to the current schedule and depending on traffic. See the MTA website for bus maps and schedules of individual bus lines. The B39 travels over the East River on the Williamsburg Bridge between Manhattan and Brooklyn. Another route of note is the B15, which runs between JFK Airport and the Woodhull Hospital in South Williamsburg. Service on that route is provided around the clock. Possibly the longest mostly straight-line bus route in Brooklyn is the B41, which runs nearly the length of Flatbush Avenue from the line's northern terminal near Borough Hall just west of Flatbush Avenue itself to Kings Plaza at Avenue U (with a branch to the Mill Basin and Bergen Beach areas), about 9 miles away. Other long routes run a limited-stop service that stops at major intersections and points of interest. Limited-stop service is provided on the B6, B41, B44 (along Nostrand/Bedford Avenues), B46 (along Utica Avenue), and B35 (along Church Avenue). That pattern is in effect from around 6AM-10PM daily on these routes (5AM-11:30PM on the B46). The B49 has southbound limited-stop service on weekday mornings, mainly tailored for college students traveling to Kingsborough Community College. The B103 is a limited-stop route between Downtown Brooklyn and Canarsie, which runs on weekdays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

One can also take express buses, with an X prefix, to/from Manhattan ($6.00 one way). Most express buses serve Southern Brooklyn, for the most part an area that's somewhat subway deprived, especially to the east. The X27 and X28 run daily from around 6AM-11:30PM. Other express routes run every day except Sunday and have a BM prefix.

By Foot or Bicycle

All the bridges between Brooklyn and Manhattan are now accessible to both pedestrians and cyclists. Prospect Park's main road is closed to cars on weekends and open to bicycles. There are numerous bicycle paths in the park. Along New York Bay to the southwest, there are many sections where one can bicycle. Ocean Parkway also has a bicycle path that runs from Coney Island at the southern end of Brooklyn to the neighborhood of Park Slope.

By Boat

The Water Taxi, at Fulton Ferry Landing, provides service from various points in Manhattan along the East River. The Water Taxi has service between southern Manhattan and Red Hook, often used by customers of the Red Hook Ikea.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

The subway is overall the best way to get around Brooklyn, although there are some spots, notably Red Hook and parts of East Brooklyn (including most of the tourist attractions), where subway coverage is poor and bus transportation is encouraged. Using Google Maps transit directions is an easy way to get accurate directions throughout Brooklyn (as well as the rest of NYC). However, do check the MTA website for service changes, as Google Maps tends to miss out on those. You can also use the subway map on MTA website or pick one up for free at a station agent's booth.

Brooklyn is well served by some 18 subway lines. The biggest hub is Atlantic Avenue - Barclays Center. There you may transfer to most subway lines in Brooklyn, 2 3 4 5 B D Q N . In addition, the Fulton Street stop on the G line and Lafayette Avenue on the C line are close by, but require exiting and re-entering the subway system (only free if you have an unlimited ride Metrocard). Broadway Junction in Bed-Stuy and East New York is a minor hub between A C J L Z lines, which don't stop at Atlantic Avenue. Transferring there can be useful if you're going to Northern Brooklyn. Coney Island is a major hub for D F N Q lines—it's possible to do a "loop tour" of southern Brooklyn by changing there. For example, taking the D to Coney Island and then the F back to Downtown (both elevated lines) will provide great views of residential Brooklyn.

Brooklyn has an extensive bus grid that proves very useful in accessing places where subway doesn't stop. The downside is that the buses are much slower than the subway (though not as slow as in Manhattan) and figuring out their route may be confusing. It's highly suggested to have a bus map handy (available free from any subway station agent) or to use Google Maps route planner, which incorporates bus directions very accurately.

As in the rest of New York City, some buses are limited (LTD) service, which means they skip certain stops along the route. However, even non-limited buses won't stop if the "Stop Request" light isn't on and no one is waiting at the bus stop (this is very common). If you plan to get off, make sure you press the "Stop Request" tape/button before you approach your stop, or else the bus may skip it.

There is the option of taking the Long Island Rail Road if your starting and ending points are in the following neighborhoods: Downtown Brooklyn, near Atlantic Avenue/Flatbush Avenue, Bedford-Stuyvesant, near Atlantic Avenue/Nostrand Avenue, and East New York, near Atlantic Avenue/Van Sinderen Avenue. It isn't terribly convenient, due to the limited stops and relatively infrequent service, but if you need to go to exactly the areas it stops in, it's faster than the subway.

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Eat

8th Avenue (or Third Chinatown), stretching from 40th Street to 62nd Street, holds its own against Canal Street and Flushing. Fancy gourmet restaurants to alleyway noodle shops, Malaysian to Vietnamese and fare from every Chinese province, the neighborhood has it all. Closest subway is the N-line's '8th Avenue' stop on 62nd and 8th.

Along 7th/5th Avenue in Park Slope, one can find any type of cuisine from Italian, to Mexican, to Japanese and even Fish and Chips. This part of Brooklyn has plenty of Zagat-reviewed restaurants that are sure to please any type of craving and tastebuds.

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Drink

  • Williamsburg - This is the capital of NYC's hipster scene. If you like thin pale boys with tight jeans and no job, this is the place for you. There are plenty of bars along Bedford Avenue. Many of New York's small music venues are found here.
  • Bay Ridge - This neighborhood has one of the highest concentrations of bars in the city! The neighborhood has been generally Irish/Italian and does not have the hipster/yuppie scene common in New York.
  • Park Slope - This neighborhood is the yuppie capital of New York and you are more likely to find a tea house serving soy milk than a bar here. Young couples pushing strollers is a common sight. There is some low-key nightlife, although this has been on the decline. A number of lesbian bars are in this area.

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Sleep

  • New York Marriott at the Brooklyn Bridge, 333 Adams St (at Fulton; Subway: 2 3 4 5 trains to Borough Hall, R train to Court Street-Borough Hall, or A C F R trains to Jay Street-MetroTech), ☎ +1 718 246-7000, toll-free: +1-800-228-9290, fax: +1 718 246-0563. Check-in: 4PM, check-out: 11AM. The hotel’s luxurious accommodations boast a relaxed but modern atmosphere with state-of-the-art amenities.
  • NU Hotel, 85 Smith St (at Atlantic; Subway: A C G trains to Hoyt-Schermerhorn Streets, F train to Bergen Street or Jay Street-MetroTech, or 2 3 trains to Hoyt Street), ☎ +1 718 852-8585, fax: +1 718 852-8558. Check-in: 3PM, check-out: Noon. $199+.
  • 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge, 60 Furman Street, ☎ +1 347 696-2500, toll-free: +1 877 803-1111, e-mail: 1bb-info@1hotels.com. 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge has expansive views of the East River and Manhattan skyline. Designed by local artists using native greenery and reclaimed materials.

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Keep Connected

Internet

There is a very small internet bar/cafe culture in the USA. Even then most of the internet bars/cafes tend be located in major urban centers. Accessible WiFi networks, however, are common. The most generally useful WiFi spots are in coffee shops, fast-food chains, and bookshops, but also restaurants and hotels more and more have a network to connect on. Some of them might require you to buy something and you might need a password too, especially in hotels.

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

The general emergency phone number is 911. The USA has a great landline phone system that is easy to use. The country code for the U.S. is +1. The rest of the telephone number consists of 10 digits: a 3-digit area code, and a 7-digit number. Any small grocery store or pharmacy has pre paid domestic or international phone cards. These phone cards are very cheap and offer good rates. The once ubiquitous pay phone is now much harder to find. Likely locations include in or near stores and restaurants, and near bus stops. The cellphone network in the states is slowly getting better but is still not as good when compared to other western countries. Cell phones tend to operate using different frequencies (850 MHz and 1900 MHz) from those used elsewhere in the world (2100 MHz). This used to prevent most foreign phones from working in America. Phones must be tri- or quad-band to work in the U.S. Fortunately, technology has meant that most phones should now be able to pick up one of the U.S. networks. Prepaid phones and top-up cards can be purchased at mobile phone boutiques and at many discount, electronics, office supply and convenience stores. A very basic handset with some credit can be had for under $40.

Post

The US Postal Service is a very good and well priced mail system. There are post offices in every small and large town for sending packages internationally or domestically. Although some might keep longer hours, most are open at least between 9:00am and 5:00pm. If wanting to send a letter or postcard it is best just to leave it in a blue mail box with the proper postage. First-class international airmail postcards and letters (up 28.5 grams) cost $1.10. There are also private postal services like FedEx, UPS, TNT and DHL, which might be better value sometimes and are generally very quick and reliable too.

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as well as Lavafalls (2%)

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This is version 16. Last edited at 13:34 on Jun 14, 19 by Utrecht. 3 articles link to this page.

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